A Tale of Jerusalem (Poe)

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A Tale of Jerusalem
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Three men hurried to collect lambs for a religious sacrifice from a besieging Roman army, but instead received a forbidden pig, causing them great distress and disappointment.

In the year 3941, three men named Simeon, Abel-Phittim, and Buzi-Ben-Levi, who were sub-collectors of offerings in the holy city of Jerusalem, hurried to the walls of the city to meet with the Roman soldiers. The Romans had promised to provide lambs for the sacrifices in exchange for thirty silver shekels per head. The men were skeptical of the Romans' intentions, but they proceeded to the ramparts to complete the exchange.

Abel-Phittim — one of the Gizbarim; religious, cautious, and concerned about fulfilling his duties.
Buzi-Ben-Levi — one of the Gizbarim; skeptical of the Romans' intentions, focused on the financial aspects of the transaction.
Simeon the Pharisee — one of the Gizbarim; religious, passionate, and prone to outbursts; member of the sect called The Dashers.

Upon reaching the ramparts, the men looked down upon the Roman camp and were dismayed by the sheer number of soldiers. They lowered a basket filled with silver shekels down to the Romans, who shouted insults at them and demanded that the basket be lowered quickly.

Now, by the five corners of my beard! shouted the Pharisee, who belonged to the sect called The Dashers.

The men worried that the Romans would cheat them out of their money or accuse them of using the lambs for their own sustenance rather than for the sacrifices.

After some time, the Romans finally signaled that the exchange was complete, and the men began to pull the basket back up. As the basket neared the top, they realized that instead of a lamb, the Romans had sent them a large hog. The men were horrified, as the consumption of pork was forbidden in their religion.

El Elohim!—God be with us—it is the unutterable flesh!

They released the hog, which fell back down to the Roman camp, and lamented the unfortunate turn of events.